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Pak: Tomato prices soar to PKR 200 per kg ahead of Eid festivities

Islamabad [Pakistan]: The price of tomatoes has surged to over PKR 200 per kilogram in a single day just ahead of Eid al-Adha, despite the district government setting the price cap at PKR 100 per kilogram, The Express Tribune reported.

This annual occurrence during Ramadan and Eid al-Adha typically goes unnoticed by authorities, despite their assurances to the contrary.

In response to the situation, the Peshawar Deputy Commissioner has taken action by imposing a ban, under Section 144, on transporting tomatoes out of the district.

With Eid al-Adha merely two days away, local retail markets have seen tomato prices double, aligning with earlier predictions that tomatoes, along with onions, would once again be sold at inflated prices during this festive period.

Residents of the area have expressed frustration, noting that prices have escalated by Rs100 per kilogram in just one day. Many believe that the district administration's efforts will likely be limited to verbal instructions, as has been the case in previous instances, as reported by The Express Tribune.

During the budget presentation, one of the standout assertions was the government's commitment to maintaining inflation at 12 per cent in the upcoming fiscal year. On the surface, this goal appears supported by various planned initiatives aimed at curbing inflation rates.

However, the implementation of aggressive tax measures, highlighted as key revenue strategies, seems paradoxical as they could potentially escalate prices instead of stabilising them.

Regardless of the method used to gauge inflation, the stark reality is that any figure exceeding the previous fiscal year's average monthly inflation rate of 24.9 per cent will inevitably lead to increased consumer prices, according to Dawn.

Abid Suleri, Executive Director of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), argues that the government ought to have adjusted the minimum taxable income thresholds to factor in inflation when outlining personal income tax brackets. He criticises the current monthly exemption of PKR 50,000 as insufficient and warns that doubling taxes on those falling within the initial tax slab could reduce their disposable income, thereby exacerbating economic hardships.

Moreover, heightened fuel expenses stemming from amplified levies and augmented GST rates in specific sectors are anticipated to drive inflation even higher, intensifying the overall cost of living. Suleri emphasises the absence of any mention regarding the taxation of agricultural income, which he believes could substantially broaden the tax base, Dawn reported.

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